Just in case you're jonesing for a Star Trek fix before Star Trek: Discovery starts in a week or so, you'd do well to check out The Orville on Fox. It's not Trek, but it's a great show — in space, on a spaceship, with a crew that has fantastic chemistry — and there's enough familiarity to make any Trek fan feel right at home.
It's getting panned by critics, and I somewhat expected this. It's being called bland, not funny, and rarely effective. I'm not sure what show these people were watching, but it wasn't The Orville. The show I watched was irreverent, funny, and well-executed — and with just enough nostalgia thrown in to pay proper respectful homage to a giant sci-fi series.
Fox has already moved it from Sunday to Thursday, two episodes in. I'd like to think the network is making a smart move there, moving it out of the post-NFL game slot (where it would be subject to delays and such, as sports programming can be a bit unpredictable) and into a proper primetime slot... Thursday nights at 9:00, an esteemed place once occupied by shows like Cheers, Seinfeld, Frasier (all on "another network" as David Letterman once used to say). My assumption that Fox knows how to keep a sci-fi show alive could easily be wrong too. It is the same network that canceled Firefly, after all. As if we sci-fi folks would ever forget that, or forgive it.
Anyway, check it out. And for the critics and haters, here's a quick checklist to get you up to speed.
- It's Seth MacFarlane. If you were expecting high drama or a documentary or something, you might want to review his other work.
- It's early. All sci-fi shows need at least a season, maybe a half season, to get their sea legs (or space legs, whatever). I think you could say that about most shows, really. It's called character development. This one has already got some pretty good chemistry if you'd pay attention.
- The audience loves it. Which of these is more likely... that you're wrong, or that all of us are?
- It's funny. Lighten up. Laugh a little! Damn.